At 4:57 a.m. my cell phone rings, "Jessica, where are you? I am in your drive way." Normal girls would be frightened by a phone call at that hour in the morning, but I knew that meant it was time for me to hustle. As I hurried to grab my skis and backcountry gear, I couldn't help but feel a little hard core. Why was I leaving the house at 5:00 a.m.? I was headed out on a ritual practiced by passionate skiers with real jobs, a love for early morning light and a lust for powder called "dawn patrol."
Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon received over 12 inches of snow the previous afternoon giving the snow time to settle and the clouds time to clear. Chris Pearson (a.k.a. Piercey) Ski Utah creative director, Nathan Rafferty Ski Utah president and I (Jessica Kunzer director of communications) headed out from the Alta Lodge parking lot at 5:30 a.m. Our original plan was a quick easy tour up Flagstaff. After some consideration, we realized that it was APRIL 25 and we had a foot of new snow and clear skies! This day deserved some real celebration. "I've always wanted to ski Mount Superior," said Nathan. Chris immediately agreed. I bemoaned the idea of the longer hike but agreed that Superior would be worth it, and with that we headed off for our early morning hike.
The hike was strenuous but glorious under the rising sun. We reached the summit three hours later at 8:30 a.m. After some celebratory photos on the summit we decided to ski the 'Pinball Alley' line. We skirted down the ridge a little and examined our line. The snow was spring powder for sure, spongy and soft, releasing some slough with each turn on steep pitches. We danced our way down the peak and the conditions proved to be incredibly enjoyable. After all, it was April 25. Piercey, who happens to be an excellent photographer as well as skier, was able to capture some great pictures of the conquest.
Some backcountry lines stare you in the face and tempt you to trespass onto their sacred terrain. Superior is one of those lines. I am proud to say that the office staff of Ski Utah was well equipped for the challenge. Superior.....check!